Utilities are modernizing their grids by investing in intelligent systems and two-way communications. Modern grids require a communications network that is reliable, resilient, and highly available to effectively manage growing complexity.
As part of the grid modernization programs, utilities deploy intelligent devices in their power distribution system. Management and control applications are deployed in utility substations and data centers, requiring two-way communication to effectively manage all grid assets. A standards-based communication network enables new applications such as automated metering infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation, integration of distributed energy resources, outage management, automatic load shedding and demand response programs. The same wireless communication network that supports grid applications can also integrate with the utility mobile workforce applications in the field.
While grid modernization is generally associated with electric utilities, the same concepts bring great benefits when applied to gas, water and wastewater utilities.
Intelligent grid benefits for utilities include:
- Reduced OPEX – Fewer truck rolls, reduced line losses, Volt/VAR optimization, load rebalancing, reduced fuel costs, remote connect and disconnect and increased safety of field personnel. Utilities can mitigate energy fraud, isolate system problems - leaks or outages - before customers report them, reducing downtime.
- Increased overall customer satisfaction – Customers can monitor their energy usage and participate in demand response programs. High-quality, real-time data increases billing accuracy, eliminating estimated bills, and unpleasant surprises for customers.